Led By the Spirit: A Review of ‘9 Fruits Alive, Discover the Fruit of the Spirit’

“……. the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” – Romans 5:5

Interest Level: 2-5

Review and Comments:

9 Fruits Alive is a story that introduces young children to the fruits of the Holy Spirit and gives an example of how to live each one.  These are wonderful mini-lessons about sharing the fruits of the Spirit by doing every day kindnesses such as helping someone who has fallen or comforting someone who is sad.

Mindy MacDonald makes a comparison between the fruit that grows on trees and vines and helps the body grow to the fruit of the Spirit that helps much more than the body. Just as a seed has to be planted in the ground in order to become fruitful, the Holy Spirit must plant the seeds of his fruit within our hearts in order for them to become fruitful. She continues this comparison by adding small plastic fruit to each colorful page.  Joy is an apple, peace is a pineapple, and kindness is a strawberry, etc.

Children will begin to understand that care must be given to a plant in order for the fruit to mature into food that nourishes the body as intended by its Creator.  The fruits of the Holy Spirit are nurtured in our hearts when we learn about Jesus and then share these gifts to nourish others. As St. Therese of Lisieux said, “We must miss no opportunity of making some sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it for love.”

Possible Concerns:

There are no concerns with this book.

Further Discussion:

  • Incorporate the fruits of the Spirit into your child’s everyday vocabulary. When you mention the loving actions of your child, name the fruit of the Spirit as a quick lesson. For example:  When a child is able to wait for something such as a toy or a parent’s attention, a parent can respond by saying, “You are very patient,” or “I see you are practicing being patient and thoughtful,” instead of saying, “Thank you for waiting.”
  • Compare fruit to the fruits of the Spirit.
  1. Examine a variety of seeds. [Examples: apple, watermelon, orange, avocado, peach] Glue the seeds to a poster with a picture of the fruit next to each.
  2. Find pictures that illustrate each of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Glue the pictures on the poster with the name next to each.
  3. Discuss how both the fruit of trees and vines and the fruit of the Spirit are beautiful, nourishing, and give life.
  • Examine the inside of a seed.
  1. Soak a lima bean in water until the seed coat starts to shrivel a bit. Carefully open the seed.  Using a magnifying glass, examine the small plant inside.  Discuss how God created each seed to contain the promise of new life and when that new plant grows, it feeds and nourishes many people.
  2. Discuss how we also have the promise of new life within us through the Holy Spirit. When our faith and love of Jesus grow, the Spirit’s fruit becomes alive within us, and we can help many people and make a beautiful world.
  • Share together.
  1. “Place nine pieces of paper, with one Fruit of the Holy Spirit written on each piece, in a basket. Place the basket near the doorway of your home. Each morning have each family member take a piece of paper from the basket, read it, place it back in the basket, and strive to use that gift several times during the day.”
  2. “Name a situation in the world that you learn about from watching television (or a situation exerienced during the day) that goes against what Jesus taught. Describe how using a fruit of the Holy Spirit might help people work together to change that situation to be more in harmony with what Jesus taught.”

(taken from Faith First, Preparing for Confirmation)

  • Stickers of the fruits of the Holy Spirit can be used for lessons or positive reinforcement.  You can buy the stickers here or here.

Catholic Resources:

  • Prayers to the Holy Spirit:
  1. Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful,
    And enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
    Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
    And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
  1. LEADER: Holy Spirit, gift of the Father and the Son,

ALL:               be with us.

LEADER:       Holy Spirit, our advocate,

ALL:                be with us.

LEADER:       Holy Spirit, our teacher

ALL:               be with us.

LEADER:       Come, Holy Spirit, set our hearts on fire with the power of your love.

ALL:               Amen.

(Faith First, Preparing for Confirmation)

  • Galatians 5:22-23 “In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

[Such lists of vices and virtues were common in the ancient world. Paul contrasts works of the flesh with fruit (not “works”) of the Spirit. Not law, but the Spirit, leads to such traits.]

  • CCC 1831 “…..Let your good spirit lead me on a level path. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  If children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”
  • CCC 1832 “The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.”
  • “There are 12 traditional fruits of the Holy Spirit, some which overlap the biblical list: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, long-suffering, humility or gentleness, fidelity or faithfulness, modesty, continence or self-control and chastity.”  These are the fruits explained in 9 Fruits Alive:
  1. Love – unselfish devotion and care for God and our neighbor
  2. Joy – knowing and following Christ
  3. Peace – freed from worrying because of the inner peace we experience with God in our hearts
  4. Patience – treating others with thoughtfulness and tolerance
  5. Kindness – treating others as we want to be treated
  6. Goodness – honor God by avoiding sin and always trying to do what we know is right
  7. Gentleness – act calmly; avoid actions that might lead others to anger or resentment
  8. Faithfulness – live out our commitment to the teachings of Jesus, the Scriptures, and the Catholic Church
  9. Self-control – exercise self-control by trying always to do God’s will

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